Government should reduce medical research funding, says Leyonhjelm – February 2017
Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm (NSW) says that if Australia’s medical research community wants the politics to be removed from funding, they need to turn to private sources and stop being so greedy for taxpayers’ money.
The statement follows calls by the Australian of the Year, Professor Alan MacKay-Sim for more money.
Senator Leyonhjelm said this was despite the fact that taxpayers were already earmarked to provide $20 billion as part of the Medical Research Future Fund.
“Everyone loves medical research,” Senator Leyonhjelm said. “But world’s best practice is the American model in which research is largely funded by philanthropy and private donations.
“When governments fund research we create bureaucracies and scientists who operate with all the efficiency we have come to expect from the public service. It’s bound to be a poor investment.
“Australians already donate generously to medical research, but one study shows that for every $100 of government funding, private donations go down by $73. It’s concerning to see that after pouring more and more money into the field, the only thing we seem to be producing is a greater sense of entitlement amongst our researchers,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.
“Very few medical research projects produce tangible results because it is a difficult field that is globally competitive. Creating a huge pool of money to be dispensed by bureaucrats will just divert good scientists from worthwhile research in other areas that probably have better prospects.”